UPDATE: THE State Administrative Tribunal directions hearing relating to a controversial beachfront block in Quindalup has been adjourned.
It was due for Friday, however Busselton city acting CEO Matthew Smith has confirmed it has been adjourned at the request of the proponent.
“We have not been advised of a new hearing date at this point, but envisage it being set for some time in September.
“We are not sure why the proponent requested an adjournment; however, we have no objection,” he said.
The Mail understands the owners of the property, Commercial Estates, have engaged a legal firm to take on the case and they wanted time to familiarise themselves with it.
The matter has finished at SAT after Busselton City Council rejected a development application from the owner to build a house on the 2.97ha block.
The prime beachfront lot has increased significantly in size, because of beach accretion, since it was first purchased because it is to the mean high water mark.
How the land lay dormant for so long is one of the intriguing aspects of the case. Commercial Estates, which acquired the land in 1970, may not have realised until recent years that it was still privately owned, while the shire had assumed it was a recreation reserve.
The Mail understands that following the subdivision of the land south of Geographe Bay Road the remaining land to the MHWM was held as a ‘balance of title’.
During 2005-2008 Landgate converted its records, titles and mapping to digital/computerised form and at that time it required all ‘balance of title’ land in the State be shown on separate titles. Apparently it was this exercise that brought the title to the attention of the city.
Acting city CEO Matthew Smith said he could confirm that the correction to the title by Landgate in 1998 was not considered by the council at that time.
“The (then) shire was not advised of the title correction process, as this was undertaken by Landgate to correct an anomaly in their records,” he said.
“In 2010 an application was made to Landgate to amend the certificate of title to reflect the survey of Lot 480. No direct referral of this application was received by the (then) shire.”
Mr Smith said that when a block was subdivided into titles there was often a portion of land left over which was referred to as the ‘balance of title’ - this parcel of land retained the same lot number as the initial larger block.
The fact that a title has been issued acknowledges that the land is privately owned.
So it could become a costly exercise to settle the matter, particularly as the city’s current Town Planning Scheme is unlikely to allow development on the lot.
Attempts at mediation over the block have failed, so the likely outcome is that the application by the owners to SAT will proceed to a conclusion.